Competition among people is not a fight. It is a comparison. Every day we are compared to others. Your success depends on how other people see you. Every day, you compare your options to make decisions. The result of those decisions determine the course of your life. The deep human psychology that these comparisons are based on was first charted 2,500 years ago by Sun Tzu. From these insights, he developed a proven system for understanding competitive positions, seeing opportunities, and making bettered decisions more quickly.
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Positions are formed from facts and opinions in the larger context of a competitive landscape. This means that positions exist as part of complex, adaptive systems that Sun Tzu called 'war' and we call 'competition.' His work explored the special nature of what we now call the "science of complexity." Today this science explains various aspects of biology, economics, ecology, sociology, physics and many other fields.
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Sun Tzu teaches that winning required avoiding costly conflict, but it requires more than that. Our success depends on our individual decision-making in interacting with other people. These decisions depend on our training. Sadly, we are all educated to work with inanimate objects. However, your success requires working with other people in productive ways. However, because of our lack of training, most of us fall back upon our instinctual "fight or flight" response when we are faced with interpersonal challenges. These instincts lead to destructive instead of productive decisions. Sun Tzu taught a new way for us to see competition by seeing the opportunities all around us to win the support of others. Read more about Sun Tzu's approach to creating personal power in this article.
As Sun Tzu said, competition is complex but good strategy is a simple matter of learning to make the right comparisons. People are usually surprised by how many powerful tools his Golden Key approach offers, but its most basic tools are immediately valuable. We offer a simple road map to get you started. The sooner you start on the road to making winning decisions, the faster you can improve your position.
Read more about taking your first steps.
Sun Tzu's system of making the right choices depends on knowing how to make simple comparisons. Successful people are not gifted from birth. They are ordinary people who developed a very specific set of skills. Most develop these skills through costly trial and error. Success requires a least a little skill in nine different areas of making the right comparisons and the right choices. Read more about these nine skills.
Sun Tzu's book is one of the most valuable works in human history. It is also one of the most difficult to understand. All English translations are an approximation of the original Chinese, which is more like mathematical formulas that English sentences. Much of Sun Tzu's writing is based on concepts in traditional Chinese science and philosophy with which modern readers are unfamiliar. Read more about the keys to Sun Tzu.
There are dozens of schools of strategy. Most ideas of strategy are rather academic, designed to sell consulting. For Sun Tzu, the process of making decisions that affect positions, that is, choosing responses to a competitive situations, is the heart of strategy. The methods for executing a given response are the whole of tactics. The "golden key" of strategy is weighing alternatives correctly. Read more about the key differences between strategy and tactics.
A great deal of Sun Tzu's work is situation specific. Since we only remember 5% of what we read, the problem is that a given lesson is easily ignored or forgotten because it doesn't apply to your current situation. Sun Tzu's Art of War Playbook breaks down Sun Tzu's methods into very situation specific lessons. As the result of over a decade of work, it details Sun Tzu's system of strategy into a series of step-by-step articles. Each article explores the opportunities hidden in different situations. It was developed over the years by the Institute's multiple award-winning author and founder, Gary Gagliardi from his work training leaders in the world's largest organizations. Read more about the PlayBook.
Throughout history, people have rediscovered the same success principles over and over again. Sun Tzu was the first to describe them in his The Art of War, but the same formulas for making decisions are described in slightly different terms in every competitive arena from sports to politics. This "Golden Key" Strategy is universal because it is based on human nature and our response to challenges. Read more about how it works.
No book written in the conceptual ancient Chinese can be completely translated into English prose. Most translations are based on manuscripts that are now considered incomplete. The translators usually are familiar with modern Chinese rather than ancient Chinese. Few translators understand the system of Chinese philosophy that underlies its system. Read more about translation problems here.
Competition is now worldwide. This means that people all over the wolrd are being compared to one another. In the past, people could plan on staying with the same organizations for a lifetime, so they didn't worry about their competitive position every day. That world is gone forever. Today, we have to constantly evaluate our position in the workforce and make smarter decisions about how to improve our position. Read more about why today's world requires Sun Tzu's thinking.
Warriors make decisions. Workers follow orders. Warriors see every task as a personal challenge. Workers put themselves at the mercy of others. Warriors get what they deserve. Workers get what they are given. In today's world, warriors are in demand everywhere. Workers are available everywhere. Worker or Warrior? The choice is yours. Read more about today's working warriors.